Sometimes my clients tell me the reason they procrastinate instead of getting something important done is that they are just too tired to focus. Or be creative. Or even think. And I believe them.
This is a growing problem.
• There’s more and more stress in our lives.
• Stress interferes with our sleep.
• Lack of sleep interferes with our ability to think analytically, concentrate, and be creative.
So when you don’t get enough sleep, it’s harder to think. You might as well procrastinate!
If lack of sleep is one of the reasons you are procrastinating, I may have the answer. You can use Tapping in a specific way to get your brain to transition sooner from wide awake to sleepy thoughts. I show you how to do it in this video.
Use this technique the next time you can’t shut off your brain when your head hits the pillow. It just might help you get a good night’s sleep so you can get more done the next day.
To discover how to stop procrastinating for good, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
In my last article I listed some compelling reasons why business owners, independent professionals and executives need to make getting enough sleep a priority, at least if they need to think, have insights, be creative, or stay healthy to be successful. But how do you know how much sleep you actually need?
You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night
The first thing to know is that almost all adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Yes, there are a few outliers—a tiny number of people who consistently sleep less than seven hours then wake refreshed, and who never seem to have their health compromised by it. If you have that particular genetic anomaly, congratulations. I am definitely jealous of you.
For the rest of us, that kind of sleep schedule would be physically, emotionally, and cognitively punishing. If we want to have the many benefits of good sleep, we need to start by scheduling enough pillow time.
Now, everyone’s sleep need is individual. So how do you know where you fall on that 7-9 hour spectrum?
Mom was right: you need your sleep. The research that has been pouring in has been telling us over and over that we all need enough sleep. When we don’t get it, all sorts of bad things happen. We eat more. We get depressed. We get anxious. We have more accidents. With too much sleep loss we develop chronic and life-threatening problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
These are all excellent reasons to make sleep a priority, but many people fail to act on them the same way we fail to exercise or eat healthier even though we know the importance of both. We are pretty good at discounting the downsides of losing sleep with a “Maybe someday that could happen to me, but I don’t have time to think about it now. I’ve got too much to do!”
We are all so busy, it can seem like a reasonable trade to give up an hour or two (or three) of sleep and suffer those consequences in the future just to get more done in the present. But it’s not. Let me tell you what losing sleep actually does to your work right now.
First, losing sleep lowers your ability to concentrate and think through cognitive tasks. And this can happen with just one night of too little sleep.
In addition, your creativity and insight drop. Perhaps some folks don’t need to be able to make connections and come up with new ideas to succeed, but the executives, professionals and business owners I work with all see those abilities as essential to what they do. Again, you only need one night of short sleep to lose ground.
A night of too little sleep also often leads to irritability, which is not great for bringing in new business, dealing with higher-ups, keeping customers happy, or even getting the best out of those people working for you.
You might have memory lapses or even memory loss as you lose more and more sleep.
Finally, lack of sleep lowers your immune system, making it more likely that you will get sick. How productive were you the last time you had the flu? Or even just a cold?
For any and all these reasons, if you don’t get enough sleep your career or your business will suffer. So follow the example of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and insist on getting the right amount of sleep every night to be able to do your work.
Next time I’ll help you figure out how much sleep you need. Until then, pleasant dreams!
Yesterday, September 25, I recorded four half-hour sessions for a teleseminar with Kris Ferraro of the Tapping Insiders Club. It’s an overview of my 4-step Unblock Sleep System with plenty of tapping to get people started on letting go of the stress that is keeping them from sleeping.
I think it went well. (Kris said it did, but then she is a very nice person who was most supportive.) I’ve never done a teleseminar before, but once we got going it was easy to talk to Kris, tell her what the 4 steps are and share some of my tips and techniques for getting to sleep. In fact, it was fun!
I’m told the teleseminar will “go live” on November 3rd. It will be restricted to members of the Tapping Insiders Club. If you are interested, you can check out what that’s all about at http://www.thetappingsolution.com/join-tic/
It’s pretty exciting. It’s also a bit intimidating since it has given me a deadline to complete my Unblock Sleep System so I have ready for anyone who wants it by November 3rd. I’ve been working on it for I don’t know how long. (Years, if you count all the work with individual clients that went into my knowledge base.) Well, that just proves what I’ve been telling my clients–if you want to get something done, set a deadline.
So back to wrapping up all the loose ends on my System. I’ll make an announcement when it is available.
One of the surprises I ran into as I researched sleep problems is that screen time–watching TVs, computers, Kindles, Nooks, smartphones, iPads, etc.–lowers your ability to sleep. This was a surprise to me as I have several friends and relatives who use the TV to wind down at the end of the day and get to sleep.
Apparently that is not a good plan for people with sleep issues. While all light will wake you up, those flickering lights from back-lit screens are the worst. They tell your brain that it is daytime, and time to be awake. One study showed that two hours spent looking at a “self-luminous electronic display” will suppress melatonin by 22 percent. Melatonin regulates your sleep cycle, so you need it to get to sleep.
The experts have a few recommendations to avoid this problem. First, limit your total screen time to lower the effect on your melatonin production. Second, take a break from the screens for two hours before you want to fall asleep. That gives your brain some time to realize it is nighttime, and it might be a good idea to get sleepy. Third, if you have to have a screen on right before bed, dim the light to lower its effect on your melatonin levels.
All of this confirms my recent decision to record most of the sleep program I have been working on in audio format. To be honest, I made that decision when I found out just how much it would take me to do everything in video. I realized I just wasn’t up to the task, despite taking on-line trainings and getting myself familiar with a webcam that is highly recommended for exactly the kind of trainings I have in mind.
So I choose to look at my stepping away from the video-format as a positive for my program. I will do just a couple of videos, and do the rest of the training as audios. That way, people can listen to the program right before bed–or even cue up tapping exercises to use when they wake up in the middle of the night–and it won’t keep them awake.
If you have trouble sleeping, take a look at how much time you stare at screens during the day, and especially in the hours before bedtime. Maybe it’s time to read a book instead!
I’ve been realizing lately how many of my clients have been struggling with sleep issues due to all their stress. I know how hard it is not just to get the work done but to even think when you haven’t slept well the night before from personal experience, so it’s something that I work on with my clients. A lot. And now I’ve made a decision.
I’m going to create some sort of product that uses all the tricks and techniques I use with my clients to lower their stresses so they can sleep. It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for awhile. And since I’m constantly advising clients to share their goals with someone else to really get motivated to make them happen, I’m sharing this goal here.
There, now I’m motivated.
I’ve got a lot of details to work out, but it’s important so I’m going to make this happen. It’ll take some time to come up with my . . . book? Video training? Webinar? Well, I have a few things to decide, and a bit of work to make it happen. I’ll let you know as I get closer to having . . . something to share about this new project.
It’s a truism that, as stress goes up, sleep goes down. I was talking with a client this week who has been having trouble sleeping. She has been using the technique of tapping on acupressure points I teach to work on some other stressors in her life but had not used the tapping on her sleep problems. I suggested these three different tapping options to try. (I’m assuming you already know how to do the mechanics of tapping here. If you haven’t learned them yet, check out my Quick Start Guide to Tapping.)
(1) If you toss and turn instead of falling asleep, tap before going to bed, saying “Even though I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, I deeply and completely accept myself, and I choose to relax completely and let my mind wander freely.” Say something like that 3 times while tapping on the karate chop point. Then do one round of tapping on each of the tapping points saying something like “I can’t fall asleep . . . I always wake up . . . the sleep apnea makes it impossible to sleep well . . . I can’t get back to sleep when I wake up . . . ” Use whatever bugs you most about your sleep issues. Then do a second round saying “I choose to relax completely and let my mind wander freely” on each point. Finally do one round where you switch back and forth — first the negative “I can’t sleep” statement on eyebrow point followed by positive “I choose to relax completely . . . ” on the side of the eye, and so on. As always, change my wording to fit what is going on for you.
(2) If you find yourself waking up then not being able to get back to sleep because your mind is getting stuck on something (food, work stress, not getting back to sleep), tap directly on that. Try: “Even though I can’t stop thinking about that report that’s due next week . . .” or “Even though I’m wide awake and I’m sure I’m going to stay that way until dawn and I’m pissed about it, I deeply and completely accept myself, and I choose to relax and let my mind wander.” Then do the 3 rounds like above — one all negative, one with just the choice statement, and one alternating between the two.
(3) Tap directly on whatever physical experience gets in the way of sleeping. Something like “Even though there is no way I will ever be able to sleep with this %*$# music from the neighbors making the walls shake, I deeply and completely accept myself and choose to be surprised at how quickly I stop even noticing it’s there.” Then try the 3 rounds as above. And, yes, if you feel like swearing about the problem, it helps to incorporate the swearing into the tapping. Swear with gusto for maximum effect.
I find when I can’t sleep, I really have to tap on being angry about not sleeping. It doesn’t matter whether I’m angry at myself, at my husband who is sleeping soundly while I’m wide wake, or at the universe for not making things go my way. If you find yourself getting angry at not sleeping, just tap on that anger even if it isn’t rational. (I know that the universe is not arranged for my comfort and enjoyment all the time). It’s much easier to let go of it if you tap on your anger than if you just grit your teeth and tell yourself to forget about it.
You may need to do whatever tapping you try more than once. But, really, if you’re not sleeping, what better do you have to do?
If you would like some additional help figuring out how to use this tapping to get to sleep, please e-mail me at email@example.com to set up a get-acquainted session by phone or Skype to discuss your blocks.
“Jack” (whose name I’ve changed for confidentiality reasons), a solo attorney, has been working on a big case for over a year. He’s up against one of the big law firms in his city, and the stress from feeling ganged up on has been building as the trial got closer.
Last week Jack told me that he hadn’t slept well for the two nights before the pretrial conference with the judge on Friday. In fact, the night before he hadn’t slept at all. Now he had a long weekend to prepare for the trial and was worried that he might be a sleepless wreck by opening arguments on Tuesday. I went over with him the stress-relief tapping technique I use and told him to try it if he had any more trouble sleeping.
We spoke Tuesday after the first day of trial. Jack reported that he had slept very poorly all weekend long, but that “for some reason” he had slept well the night before and been quite relaxed throughout the day’s proceedings. I asked if he had tapped, and he said he had forgotten to over the weekend, but then added “Oh, I tapped last night. Maybe that was why I slept better.”
While we can’t be sure that tapping made the difference here for Jack, it is common for people to forget they tapped once their problem goes away. And I know other clients who have had relief from their insomnia when they tapped. It certainly can’t hurt to try.
If stress is keeping you awake, try my Quick Start Guide to tapping. It might help you, too. If you would like more individual attention, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a get-acquainted call by phone or Skype to talk about how we might work together.